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The Scottish Council on Archives' ‘Opening Up Scotland’s Archives’ project secures Heritage Lottery Fund support

Release Date: 4 April 2014

The Scottish Council on Archives – the lead advocacy body for Scottish archives based in General Register House, Edinburgh - has received support for a bid from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) under its Skills for the Future [1] programme for the ‘Opening Up Scotland’s Archives’ project, it was announced today. The project aims to improve skills and service delivery within the Scottish archives sector.

Funding of £513,400 has been awarded to help the Scottish Council on Archives to provide 18 traineeships over the next three years, working in partnership with archive services across Scotland.

The ‘Opening Up Scotland’s Archives’ project will take a holistic approach that brings together partner organisations. This co-operative approach will deliver training that supports service improvement across the archives sector: strengthened relationships with archives users; on-line access meeting identified user needs; collections made more representative of communities; support for on-going access to digital records; and facilitating wider access to older documents through learning of handwriting and related skills. Training will be delivered by means of annual bursaries, mentoring and working on a range of exciting projects which will allow trainees to develop a variety of skills they can take with them to future career and training opportunities.

Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said:

“Our archives are a valuable resource for anyone wanting to explore the history of Scotland or the communities within it. Through supporting these work-based placements, we are giving people the experience and skills to pursue a career in archives while ensuring that the sector as a whole is in a stronger position for the future.”

Scottish archives are the ‘documented memory’ of the nation, of its communities and organisations and of families and individuals. They capture the whole range of experience from epoch-changing events to the grind and joys of everyday life. Access to that heritage is a democratic right of the people. It also enriches the experience of visitors to Scotland.  

The Chair of the Scottish Council on Archives Dr. Irene O’Brien said: “This support from the Heritage Lottery Fund provides an exciting opportunity to improve vital skills within the archives sector. I say vital because they will help to open up archives – the ‘documented memory’ of the nation - to a wider range of users and do so in ways they want.”

Recruitment of the first trainees will commence in summer 2014 and placements will start in September 2014.

The scheme will be delivered in partnership with The National Archives (Kew), the Archives and Records Association UK and Ireland and the University of Dundee Centre for Archives and Information Studies.

The following archive services will be hosting traineeships related to Outreach and Community Engagement, Digitisation, Digital Preservation, Collections Development and Traditional Skills:

East Lothian Council Archive Service

Falkirk Community Trust Archive Service

Glasgow City Archives

Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections Centre

Midlothian Council Archive Service

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS)

Tasglann nan Eilean Siar (Archives of the Western Isles)

The National Records of Scotland

University of St Andrews, Special Collections

University of Edinburgh, Centre for Research Collections

University of Dundee Archive Service

University of Glasgow, Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

'Opening Up Scotland's Archives' will run in collaboration with a Skills for the Future project developed by the National Archives, 'Transforming Archives.' 

For further information, please contact Victoria Brown, Programmes and Development Manager, The Scottish Council on Archives on 0131 535 1361 and email

[1]  Launched in July 2009, Skills for the Future is an HLF programme supporting organisations across the UK to create new training places.  HLF has awarded grants totalling £26.8m under this programme enabling high-quality work-based training, the development of new qualifications and capacity building in the sector.